Let’s talk about snacks for a moment. I believe there is a general perception that snacking is bad and you need to cut out snacking if you want to lose weight and be heart healthy. Well, the opposite is actually true. Let me explain.
It is important to eat regularly, every 3-4 hours to maintain an increased metabolism, promote stable blood sugar levels, and prevent insulin spikes. By maintaining a high metabolism you boost the calories you burn throughout the day, which helps you lose weight. By maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing insulin spikes you will prevent drops in energy and halt a chain reaction that can lead to heart health complications (increased C-reactive protein, increased blood viscosity, increased clotting factor, increased free radical damage, etc.).
Now, this doesn’t mean just any food will work. You need to select heart healthy snacks. This means eating snacks that balance carbohydrates with protein and/or heart healthy fats. Fat and protein slow the breakdown of carbohydrates, preventing the rapid rise in blood sugar and the corresponding increased insulin release.
Here are healthy snacks that are high in carbohydrates:
Whole grain crackers
You can make these snacks heart healthy by combining with a protein. These protein sources that are easy to include with snacks:
Glass of low-fat milk
The following is an example of how you can apply this to your daily snacks.
Mid-morning snack: Yogurt with granola
Mid-afternoon snack: Nuts mixed with dried fruit
Evening snack: Light frozen yogurt topped with strawberries
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Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.